Touch Bar is awesome - useful tricks

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by aevan, Dec 4, 2016.

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  1. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #1
    Ok, so I immediately liked the Touch Bar, but at first I didn't use it much. However, after setting it up the way I like, now I use it all the time, and it's actually super useful. Please note, these are my personal preferences and opinions which I give in hopes of helping someone. This is not meant to be a debate whether you think the Touch Bar is a gimmick or that the MBPs are overpriced, etc. If you don't care about the Touch Bar, skip this post!



    1. The Expanded Control Strip is really useful when set correctly. If you don't use Function keys much, then you can use the Fn key to invoke the Control Strip. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard and change Press Fn key to Expand Control Strip. This makes it more accessible and turns it into an interactive keyboard shortcut, rahter than something you have to press twice to activate and press once more to close.

    [​IMG]

    2. Customize the Control Strip. Since you can use the brightness/volume buttons in the non-expanded Control Strip (just press and slide, no need to do two presses), you can throw out volume and brightness buttons from the Expanded Control Strip. I put Screenshot and Keyboard Input buttons, for example. The Screenshot button is great, it lets you modify all the parameters on the Touch Bar (region, Window, Full Screen and destination) and it remembers the last you used. If you make a lot of screenshots like me, this is super useful. Also, the Input button is great, as it not only allows you to change languages, it also shows you what language is active.

    3. TouchSwitcher app. This is really great - it's basically an app switcher and the Dock at the same time, in your Touch Bar. The app is free and is really well done.

    https://hazeover.com/touchswitcher.html

    4. Better Touch Tool with Touch Bar support (Alpha) - for a few dollars, you can buy the useful BTT. Now it's even more great, with the Touch Bar support added. It's still in Alpha (download the Alpha version to use it) but I found no real bugs using it. It allows you to customize the Touch Bar and create buttons for it that act as keyboard shortcuts or even gestures. It is app specific, so you can set shortcuts for each app. Yup, now you can add all your spells in WoW or add Photoshop shortcuts (until the official Touch Bar support is available by the end of the year)

    Download the latest Alpha version here: http://boastr.net/releases/btt1.951.zip

    If you want to disable TouchSwitcher and Better Touch Tool, just quit them. Also, they cannot work simultaniously. I use TouchSwitcher and activate BTT if I want to use it in a specific app, like Photoshop.


    Hope this helps!
     
  2. 537635 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #2
    Great tips! Thank you. Looking forward to getting mine in the next few weeks. Especially with the fact, that BTT supports it. Wow.
     
  3. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #3
    This thread, man! About time someone posted something useful about Touchbar instead of people complaining for attention ;))))
     
  4. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a

    WhiteWhaleHolyGrail

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    #4
    That is very helpful indeed, thank you!

    Are you having any issues configuring the TB for Mail? For instance, I added font settings as shortcuts to the TB when composing and yet they do not appear in compose mode. In addition, now if I go to View-Customise touch bar whilst composing an e-mail nothing happens at all - the menu doesn't even open. It's as if the compose part of Mail is now cut-off from the TB.

    Very odd behaviour.
     
  5. phloo macrumors regular

    phloo

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    #5
    How do you add Screenshot and Input buttons? I can't find them or I am blind :)
     
  6. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #6
    From the View menu on the menu bar you can see Touch Bar options.
     
  7. sinoka56 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    #7
    is touch switcher even better than cmd + tab lol
     
  8. aevan thread starter macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #8
    In System Preferences click Keyboard, then click the Customize Control Strip button.

    [​IMG]


    Please note to add them to the Extended Control Strip, extend the strip by pressing the < arrow (next to the brighness, sound and siri buttons on the right)

    [​IMG]

    and then drag the buttons you want.

    [​IMG]
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2016 ---
    Well, depends on your habits. It's actually a bit faster for me, because I can just tap the app I want and not move the selection with the cursor keys (or by cycling cmd+tab). And don't forget, it's also a dock - so it's great for launching apps too. And it's super cool :) But, of course, it's perfectly fine to use cmd+tab instead.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2016 ---
    Thanks! ;)
     
  9. kazmac macrumors 601

    kazmac

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    in stasis
    #9
    While I am not in the market, but I really appreciated this thread. It is always helpful to see users actually working with the tech. When I played with the touch bar at the store it immediately reminded me of the Windows keyboard I use at work (some helpful shortcuts).

    Thanks for posting this positive thread.
     
  10. aevan thread starter macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #10
    Haven't notice these issues. I tried adding font settings to the compose window and wasn't able. Not sure - if you can explain what you did, I can try it. But I haven't notice any issues with the TB so far. I noticed some people say it's buggy, but I am yet to encounter a bug.
     
  11. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a

    WhiteWhaleHolyGrail

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    #11
    It's no doubt a glitch that will be remedied with updates but here's what I did -

    In compose mail
    View-customise touch bar
    Removed send button
    Added font buttons - the set of three

    Then I composed an e-mail and went to use my font shortcuts
    TB became non responsive and when I restarted mail the font shortcuts were gone

    Now I don't have word suggestions in compose either - only works in the various address and subject fields.

    If I try to customise shortcuts for compose I am no longer offered font buttons. Settings say suggested words is activated but it's not offered in compose.

    So TB seems to be nonconfigurable in compose now.
     
  12. Macalway macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2013
    #12
    After all the screaming and moaning about this thing being 'distracting, gimmick, redundant, useless, boring, overpriced add-on), in the end it's just another level of control.
     
  13. Karnicopia macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    #13
    Thanks for the tips I did take out the sound and display buttons on the expanded toolbar, didn't really think about it but since the controls are already on the short toolbar it is kind of redundant. So I replaced with the screenshot, desktop, DND, sleep and spotlight. I kept spotlight in the same spot as Siri on the short bar so if I want to do voice search or text it's consistent.

    That better touch tool sounds great as well I'll have to check that out. Sounds like most of what I'd want to do with the toucher as far as customization. Overall I'm finding little ways the touch bar helps out like opening tabs is now easier because I can open a new tab and pick a favorite and get 90% of where I want to go in two taps. I think it is easier switching between tabs because I can usually get right to the tab I need in one click. The music controls on the touch bar are awesome, no matter what is playing where I click on that one button and get pretty much full audio control. I have used the suggested words once or twice and yeah it's pointless most of the time but convenient when you do need it. Like trying to spell Albuquerque or something. Watching full screen video and scrubbing is really nice. I guess that's the main areas I'm using it now but it has been pretty convenient.

    I think there is a lot of potential there with the touch bar but I think Apple does have to make a magic keyboard that has a touch bar so that the technology can be implemented across the platform. It's kind of like the xbox one and the camera, if everyone had one it would have been supported across the platform but if it's something only a portion of the user base has developers aren't going to sink too much time into supporting it. Magic keyboard with touch bar pretty much solves any fragmentation issues so hopefully they do it.
     
  14. phloo macrumors regular

    phloo

    Joined:
    May 23, 2016
    #14
    thanks @aevan - on the german settings page it says something totally different but the icons are the same! good advice :)
     
  15. Macalway, Dec 4, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016

    Macalway macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2013
    #15
    It would be nice to be able to toggle the extended bar with the fn key.


    I'm wondering if this thing is capable of vertical sliders. This would just be compressed sliders without a visual element, but you could line up whole bunch of them.
     
  16. chabig macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #16
    See post #1.
     
  17. Capt T macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    #17
    Thanks for posting this. Will definitely check out the Better Touch Tool app to see if it will be useful to my workflow in my CAD app and others that will be slow to adapt.
     
  18. Macalway macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2013
    #18
    Yes but it doesn't lock. (I may be missing something)

    Thanks
     
  19. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #19
    I set the Touchbar to only show App Controls.

    Control Strip is set to appear when I press fn.

    Now it's impossible to accidentally hit Siri and I save some battery life.
     
  20. Mathias Denichi macrumors 6502

    Mathias Denichi

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    #20
    I commend you for being very helpful, but it's circle jerk of trying to make this dumb tech useful. The touchbar is the iPhone 5c of the MacBook. The most useful feature is skipping YouTube ads, because most any of this stuff can be done with a keyboard shortcut or a click of the giant trackpad.
     
  21. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    #21
    Once your brain memorises when or where the touch keys appear then muscle memory takes over. It's faster then keyboard shortcuts for certain functions and your hands never leave the keyboard to fiddle around with the trackpad and cursor.
     
  22. aevan thread starter macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #22
    I don't know, I'm really finding more and more use for it. To each their own, I guess. Either way, I don't want to get into an argument over it, there are plenty of those around the forums.
     
  23. runner77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2016
    Location:
    Berlin
    #23
    That's exactly what will happen. Muscle memory will kick in for the most used apps, from that point shortcuts don't cut it anymore, they would be more complex for these operations/tasks to execute.
     
  24. blackberrycubed macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    #24
    I agree with you.

    Touchbar is pretty useless. A polished turd is still a turd.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2016 ---
    Apple employee or apologist ? both ? is that you Phil Shiller?
     
  25. Mathias Denichi macrumors 6502

    Mathias Denichi

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    #25
    I'm happy for you and any one who finds use of the touch bar. Thank you for making this thread and trying to help people with it. I prefer a touch screen but others will use the touch bar, and that's why capitalism and competition is great, choices.
     

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